HSBC overhauls First Direct brand to attract younger customers

Pedro Gonçalves
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HSBC overhauls First Direct brand to attract younger customers

HSBC is doing a complete overhaul of its telephone and internet-based retail banking brand First Direct as is seeks to compete with digital rivals and attract younger customers.

First Direct's chief executive Joe Gordon told Financial Times that the retail bank would make changes over the next 12 months to improve its services and introduce new features.

Some of the new products it is working on include an in-app marketplace and a "financial autopilot" that would use artificial intelligence to make personalised recommendations and automate activities such as topping up savings accounts.

First Direct was never set up for a specific demographic, it was for people who wanted to do things differently"

First Direct will also allow customers with limited credit history to open accounts.

"First Direct was never set up for a specific demographic, it was for people who wanted to do things differently," Gordon said. "Maybe the approach to credit scoring over time meant some people felt they couldn't be part of that."

The relaunch of First Direct is part of HSBC's strategy to compete with digital rivals. Companies like Monzo and Revolut have signed up millions of customers in the past few years, prompting big banks to modernise their services and, in some cases, build entirely new bank brands to compete.

The bank is also working on a new digital business banking service, known internally as Project Iceberg, the newspaper reported.

 

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